28 October 2008
Why do people accept Obama & Wright, but not Sarah Palin & creationism?
Here's a thought: the reason why the Republicans tend to win American presidential elections is that they treat the Democrats as a force to be feared, respected and defeated. The Democrats treat the Republicans as if they are knuckle-dragging idiots that nobody could conceivably take seriously.
Let's take the matter of Sarah Palin and religion as a case in point. Democrat supporting writers such as Christopher Hitchens are cheerfully sticking the boot into Sarah, with the airy comment that "she is known to favor (sic) the teaching of creationism in schools. . ." Now the problem with this argument is that during her time as governor of Alaska, not once did Sarah Palin promote creationism with the state's school system. As the Americans say, she talked the talk, but never walked the walk.
In that sense she is probably closer to Barak Obama than she is to her grassroots supporters. Obama was a member of a rather hysterical Mickey Mouse church for over twenty years, and as this recently released GOP attack advert shows, the pastor of the church, Jeremiah Wright, is rather an excitable old cove:
Why did Obama put up with this ear-splitting racket for two long decades? The most logical answer is that he was marking his card as a Chicago based ghetto politician and religion just happens to be as important to poor Blacks in the cities as it is to poor Whites elsewhere.
The fact that Obama dumped Wright when the latter became an embarrassment is neither here nor there. Nobody can accuse Obama of not being an astute politician and astute politicians from the south have been meeting Black leaders for years with a view to harvesting votes. At the same time, somebody from the campaign will amble over to the bar where all the good old boys hang out, and tell them not to worry. The chances are that Obama pulled the same stunt with Wright: certainly the good reverend has been very quiet, which doesn't suggest that he is a man who feels slighted in any way.
Now, if all this reads as a logical explanation for Obama's behaviour, why should we not reach the same conclusion about Sarah Palin?
The logical answer is that secular, Democrat minded people give Obama a pass because they realise that he had to mouth off to keep in with his early knuckle-dragging followers. Sarah, they conclude, on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, is a knuckle-dragger herself.
This brings us in a nice fashion back to the thought that began this posting. This election will most likely be lost by the Republicans on the basis of an economy that is in free-fall. However, four years from now when Sarah Palin probably heads the Republican ticket, the Democrats will go back to treating the GOP as a bunch of idiots.
Instead of pointing out the inconsistencies inherent in Sarah's position of saying one thing and doing another, what they are almost certain to do is mock her for those positions. In other words, instead of encouraging her voters to stay at home - because she is not really one of them - what they will do is actually encourage them to turn out and vote for her and the GOP. By mocking Sarah's positions what they do is mock the people who hold those positions.
As we said, treating your opponents as idiots is not a good idea.